Do we have a messaging problem?

"Social networking" seems to be a loaded term that implies something much narrower than what Elgg has to offer. What can we do to clear up the confusion?

From :

ON isn’t designed for social networking. Though you’re welcome to do so, this isn’t the place to post snaps of you out on the lash, or to connect with your old school friends.

ON is built on Elgg. But it's "not designed for social networking." The writer then goes on to describe the purpose of the site is political organizing, something I personally consider broadly under the category of social networking.

I'm glad they found and decided to use Elgg, but this gives me the impression that people may be reading "social networking engine" and thinking "nope, I need something for political organizing." Are we losing a lot of people who could be well served by our software due to this terminology confusion?

Similarly, I had an experience where someone was building a site for people to log in and discuss a workbook. He knew I worked on Elgg and had intended to try it out but that no clients had need of "social networking sites" at the moment. In my mind logging in and discussing a book is very much a "social networking" activity!

If you've seen the new docs at, you'll notice I've made the pitch on the home page slightly different than what we've had before to address the wide applicability of the platform.

Elgg helps communities get connected while retaining control of their data and brand. It is a great fit for building any app where users log in and share information.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this? Have you noticed similar issues? Does this new pitch make things any clearer? Am I broadening the purpose of Elgg too widely?

  • Maybe there should be a sign saying "Social networking capabilities can be turned off so the Elgg framework can be used for any purpose."

  • @Evan I tried to explain them, but the info they found stated that it was for social networking. Branding is important, that's why companies invest in marketing and brand awareness.

  • To a certain extent you have to blame the client's technical leadership if they disregard a technology based on a superficial misunderstanding of it ("Rails? No we don't want to be Twitter"), but since placing blame doesn't pay for the lost work, it makes good sense to hide all the underlying tech and let clients focus on how well you provide solutions.

  • @rjcalifornia.....i agree with @gerrard....and also you...I think the problem is the awareness and branding....what i propose is also same...with gerrard lets all pull resources together and give a new phase to elgg, i can pull together all of my companies resources to promote elgg in whatever image we want and to an extent i also have media connections within my continent and also outside my continent that can promote elgg in whatever light we want to....i would like everyone to also do same ....because branding is always the issue....but one last thing...the only way to do this is if we are made to be affiliated with elgg somehow...because media would want to know what is our affiliation with elgg and we can just put it as elgg was used to promote our interactive learning section.

    I dont know if anyone gets my do this we must go out in mass and make elgg more attractive to the publics eye rather than just a mere community of developers, lets take elgg and its true meaning to the public. Its my own opinion thought it might be of any significance....

  • i agreed with you @Steve Clay

  • My opinion: Split the site up by having

    1. Focus on using Social Framework for developers
    2. Other section for "customers/normal users" with nice linup of Elgg providers (Arck, Enraiser, Team Webgalli, etc.) within some categories (social, learning, business, etc.).

    In that way Developers are supported with both a core framework, focusing on great core features. And having Elgg to back them up, by forwarding the "customers" to their sites/business', so they can get more time and money to develop even more great code..

    It is probably just like any other project/business plan.

    1. What is the goal of Elgg?
    2. What is in scope of the project?
    3. And what is NOT in scope of the project?
    1. Goal:
      • Getting as much users worldwide to use it? If so, why?
      • Having some great features for developers, which other engines/frameworks don't? So developers can build upon the Social Framework?
    2. Scope of core code:
      • State of the art sharing features
      • Great privacy setups of all kind
      • Endless creation of plugins (for developers to make sites by choice)
      • Keep focused setup for developers
      • For "customers/normal users" forward to the developers/elgg provider sites (sites by choice)
      • What should be core plugins, so it is in scope of Elgg project?
    3. Not in scope of core code:
      • To many social networking features like FB
      • Wanting it to be like Drupal, Wordpress, etc., for "customers/normal users" to download plug and play
      • What should NOT be core plugins, so it is in scope of Elgg project?

    When we have the answers on this, THEN we can start some focused branding.

    Or am I totally off track?

  • @TheMullier, I like your approach. Maybe Elgg wants to be everything for everybody and therefore everyone will be able to create an opininion and that has ultimately slashed it into the facebook clone corner. I think nobody here wants that (true or false does not matter)

    If the core is more focussed on developers, end users will not be able to narrow it down into a single purpose thing.

    The developer is determining the real path of the end product and can therefore differentiate to its target customers. The community still allows non developers to create an end user platform of choice.

Feedback and Planning

Feedback and Planning

Discussions about the past, present, and future of Elgg and this community site.